Primary 2020: Kennedy, Richter win; Gottheimer, Sires swamp challengers

By David WildsteinJuly 08 2020 

New Jersey Globe

Amy Kennedy celebrates her victory in the NJ-2 Democratic congressional primary on July 7, 2020 with her husband, former Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, three of her five children, Gov. Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy. 

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Amy Kennedy won a decisive victory in the NJ-2 Democratic primary to take on party-switching Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) on Tuesday in a primary election delayed a month to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus and conducted almost entirely through vote-by-mail ballots.

Kennedy, a member of one of America’s most storied political families, dealt a stunning blow to the South Jersey Democratic machine.  She has a 61%-25% lead over Brigid Callahan Harrison, winning all eight counties despite Harrison’s endorsement by six Democratic county organizations.

In the 3rd district, Republicans nominated David Richter, a former construction company CEO, to run against freshman Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown).  Richter leads former Burlington County Freeholder Director Kate Gibbs by a 2-1 margin after winning Ocean County with 78%.

Eight incumbent House members faced primaries, but despite gargantuan bluster, none of the challengers came close to winning.

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Murphy Ratchets Up a Warning to New Jersey

By Fred Snowflack | July 6, 2020

Insider NJ

Gov. Phil Murphy

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Forget about not being a “knucklehead.”

Today, Phil Murphy urged residents not to be “selfish” and to follow pandemic-related rules and regulations. That means wear masks and most especially, self-quarantine if you have visited a COVID-19 “hot spot,” which these days can include most of the country. The governor, in fact, said that one “selfish person” can ruin everything for many. Wearing a mask prevents asymptomatic people from spreading the disease to others.

Murphy took this tone at his regular briefing because the state’s rate of transmission has now crept up to 1.03 percent.  This calculates the number of individuals one person with the virus will infect on average. For the last few weeks, the infection rate has been less than one, which means that a person with COVID-19 probably infected no one.

But now the infection rate is slightly above one, which the governor said was an “early warning sign.”

And the culprit seems to be people who visited other states.

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Partnership Between NJ’s State University System, Large Private Health Network Almost Complete

LILO H. STAINTON | JULY 7, 2020

NJ Spotlight

Spearheading the partnership are Barry Ostrowsky, president and CEO of RWJBarnabas, left, and Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

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In July 2017, leaders from Rutgers University and RWJBarnabas Health hosted a media event in New Brunswick to outline their plans for a potential 30-year partnership designed to beef up New Jersey’s medical education system, expand its biomedical research capacity and create a network of world-class health care practices.

The collaboration between New Jersey’s state university system and one of its largest private health care providers is well underway, although some of the paperwork spelling out details of the deal remains to be signed. That includes an important agreement related to RWJBarnabas’ role overseeing the clinical work and practice operations of more than 1,000 doctors, nurses and other health care providers affiliated with Rutgers. Originally targeted for completion July 1, it should be finalized in the coming weeks, the parties said.

While the coronavirus pandemic pushed back the schedule for completing this and other documents slightly, leaders at both organizations said it also strengthened both sides’ commitment to the initiative.

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Trump administration bars international college students if their school's classes are all online

International students who attend college in the United States on visas will be barred from staying in the country if their school's classes are entirely online during the fall semester, the Trump administration said Monday.

The announcement comes as colleges nationwide are grappling with how to teach students during the coronavirus pandemic, with schools like Harvard announcing all-online learning for the entire school year.

Many colleges will be left in a tough spot by the policy: Reopen their schools to in-person learning despite rising numbers of coronavirus infections or face losing international students and their tuition. Some international students already had left the U.S. when the pandemic broke out and they and their colleges were hoping they could return in the fall, but most are thought to have remained here.

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Jersey City Black leaders want baton-wielding police officer fired and apology from city for response to street fight

Posted Jul 06, 2020

Jersey City Black community leaders are calling for the firing of the city police officer they say used excessive force with a baton during a chaotic fight on Bostwick Avenue that included the use of pepper spray by responding officers.

At a press conference on Bostwick Avenue Monday, Lincoln High School Principal Chris Gadsden and activists Pamela Johnson, Frank Gilmore and Nevin Perkins are also demanding an apology from the city to the Black community over the response to the May 5 incident, which ended with five people being arrested.

The group says Police Officer Bryant Rowan, who is seen in both the police body camera footage and independent videos recorded that day striking two people with his baton, used excessive force and should be fired.

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A Kennedy Wife and a Professor Compete to Run Against a Trump Backer

By 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

July 6, 2020

“Having a perspective of a teacher, or a mother, or a resident,” Amy Kennedy said, “that is an important perspective to bring to decision making.”Credit...

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Jeff Van Drew’s defection from the Democratic Party began with a vote against impeaching President Trump and ended with a handshake in the Oval Office.

With his pledge of “undying support” for Mr. Trump, the freshman congressman from New Jersey unleashed the full fury of his former party and earned a quick embrace from the Republican president, who promptly held a rally for Mr. Van Drew in South Jersey, declaring it “Trump country.”

The apostasy set in motion a surprisingly toxic race that has become a moral crusade by Democrats thirsty for political payback in a state where they outnumber Republicans by 1 million voters.

“We’ve got to make an example out of this guy — kick his butt,” said Michael Suleiman, the Democratic Party chairman in Atlantic County, who helped to send Mr. Van Drew to Congress in 2018 during the so-called blue wave.

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New Jersey caps third-party food delivery fees, Uber removes Jersey City surcharge

Posted Jul 05, 2020

One restaurant owner spent three months in the middle of a pandemic developing her own online ordering platform. Another worked exclusively with the delivery app companies that charge the lowest commissions.

They were working to avoid the service fees apps like Uber Eats charge restaurants, which often reach up to 30%, while transitioning for the first time to exclusively take-out and delivery operations.

Now, nearly four months into the pandemic, no restaurant in New Jersey will have to provide more than 20% of its sale value to the company facilitating the delivery. That maximum is 10% when the order is delivered by someone the restaurant hired itself.

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Bettors Gamble With Their Money, and the Virus, as Atlantic City Reopens

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THE NEW YORK TIMES

July 3, 2020

Dancers festooned in sequined masks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., added a festive flair to Thursday’s reopening.Credit...

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Terril Tate left his house an hour before dawn on Thursday to be one of the first players at a craps table when the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino reopened at 6 a.m.

He was hoping for a win, and maybe a date. But Mr. Tate, 41, said he was also on a mission to pave the way for people who don’t yet feel safe enough — he called them “worry bots” — to venture into indoor recreational and leisure spaces.

“There’s got to be someone who goes into the fire first,” said Mr. Tate, a truck driver from Toms River, N.J. “Once enough people see it’s OK, they’ll come back.”

As cases of the coronavirus surge in states that reopened earliest, New Jersey forged ahead Thursday with its plan to allow casinos in Atlantic City to begin operating for the first time since March 16.

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New Jersey’s Declaration of Independence signers were not professional politicians

By David WildsteinJuly 04 2020

New Jersey Globe

 

Just one of the five New Jerseyans who signed the Declaration of Independence went on to run for public office.

Abraham Clark had served in the Continental Congress in 1776 and was the only New Jersey delegate who supported independence from the start. The pro-Independence legislature recalled their other four delegates and sent a new delegation to join Clark.

Two of his sons served in the Continental Army; both were captured and brutally tortured.  The British offered to spare the lives of Clark’s sons if he would recant his signing of the Declaration of Independence, but he refused.

Clark ran again for Congress in 1791 and was the top vote-getter. He served in the Second and Third Congress from 1791 until he died in office in 1794.

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Tuesday’s primary features N.J.‘s 1st Muslim woman candidate for Congress

Posted Jul 03, 2020

Like many challengers to sitting House Democrats in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, writer Amani Al-Khatahtbeh supports Medicare for All and the Green New Deal and wants to end U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What makes her different is that she is the first Muslim woman to run for Congress from New Jersey, according to Jetpac, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based group that trains American Muslims to run for public office and become active in politics.

Al-Khatahtbeh is one of two progressive Democrats challenging Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. in New Jersey’s 6th District. Also running is Russ Cirincione, a housing lawyer with the New York state government, who is on a slate of supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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